This work programme will implement concrete measures in support of widening participation and strengthening the ERA. It will underpin geographical spread, build the necessary capacity to allow successful participation in the R&I process and promote networking of and access to excellence thus optimising the impact of Pillar II and contributing to the objectives of the entire programme. Further dissemination and exploitation of research results through reinforcing the interaction between education and research.

This programme part will strengthen collaborate links across Europe and open up European R&I networks, contribute to improving research management capacities in the widening countries, support national policy reforms as well as exploit the potential of the Union’s talent pool by targeted actions.

Activities under the widening part could include enhancing research and innovation capacity, spurring national reforms, facilitating brain circulation, launching measures for promoting excellence, creating new collaborative networks across the EU and supporting the opening of established networks to applicants from widening countries.

Strengthening the European Research Area part of the programme will support a new phase in the development of the European Research Area and synergies with the European Higher Education Area in a complex landscape of universities and research organisations with a view to underpinning open science, innovative entrepreneurial practices, life-long-learning and upskilling talent and breaking down disciplinary and inter-sectoral barriers to match emerging business and societal needs.

Impacts will include better alignment of national reforms and increased programme level collaboration across Member States and Associated Countries and will help increase the impact of both national and European investments in research and innovation. This will also support other research and innovation priorities including Open Science, citizens’ science, gender equality and other forms of diversity, improving international cooperation, ethics and integrity, and scientific input to other EU policies.